Hawaii Five-0 s8 ep 2

I had mixed feelings going into this episode, described in the following terms by my TiVo: “McGarrett and the team work with an injured police dog that is the only witness to an ambushed drug bust”. Now, on the one hand I hate Brer Dog. But on the other: DUDES. The DOG is a WITNESS. I’m pretty sure that was the plot to the pilot of Hooperman, although it’s over 20 years since I saw it. I liked Hooperman.

Sorry: where was I? Oh yes. We open with Eddie the Dog (which I’m assuming must be a shoutout to Frasier, particularly given that one of the characters in this episode is named Niles) scampering down the sun-dappled corridor in his house to wake up his owner, who then gets dressed… in the uniform of a DEA agent, also strapping Eddie into his, uh, drug dog gear. And off the two of them go to the port, where the DEA has assembled on information that there’s cocaine in one of the containers.

It is, however, an ambush, and the DEA agents start taking fire. It turns out that Eddie is multi-talented, though, barking whenever someone is about to fire on his master. Woof! (“Gunman at four o’clock!”) Woof! (“Tango on your six!”) But not even Eddie can keep the baddies at bay for ever; his master is fatally wounded, and Eddie himself sustains a GSW to the torso.

When the Five-0 gets to the scene, Steve is told that two agents were killed and a dog is unaccounted for, and he immediately recognises the importance of finding the missing dog. Eddie, happily, is still alive, but only just. Steve demands paramedics, and Eddie is taken to doggy hospital and intubated, probably given a CBC and chem-7 as well, then goes under the scalpel. Not only is the operation successful, but before being shot he’d managed to bite one of the baddies, whose blood is still in his mouth, and capable of DNA analysis.

Meantime, the Five-0 is trying to work out how the ambush took place at all, and realises it means that someone must have tipped the dealers off that the DEA was going to be there. This leads them through a confidential informant to a dead low-level drug dealer and the restaurant – proprietor Niles – where he washed dishes. Niles owns an industrial complex which is ideal for the manufacture of illegal drugs, so the Five-0 heads over to search it, with Steve observing that, given the size of the complex, they’ll need some help. And there’s a lovely panning shot of the Five-0, plus additional canine member, sitting in the van on the way there. It all works out in the end: even for Eddie, also revealed to have done a stint in Afghanistan. I think an Eddie spin-off would never run out of storylines.

It’s a solid rather than spectacular episode, notable also for our introduction to new cast member Junior Reigns (Beulah Koale), an ex-SEAL who turns up on Steve’s doorstep looking for a job. Rather than shoot him Steve places him under Duke’s wing, and tells him that if he successfully gets through the Police Academy there’ll be a place for him in the Five-0. Which, I suppose, also gives the producers a get-out clause if audiences don’t take to him.


Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 19

A terrified teenage girl with visible signs of physical abuse is brought into hospital by her “uncle”, but before the nurse treating her can alert Family Services the girl and the man disappear. So the nurse calls in the Five-0 instead, and Steve and Kono set to work. The girl is identified as Moani, missing for six weeks from her home, and lured into running away, then coerced into sex work, by someone she met online. It turns out that this isn’t an isolated case; there’s a sex trafficking ring on the island. Kono takes the case personally, and her righteous anger is something to behold, even if the guy whose car window Kono smashed in might reasonably think that all he was doing was sitting there minding his own business.

The trafficked girls are found by the end of the episode and taken to Pearl Haven, a specialised (and genuine) treatment facility, run by an organisation named Ho‘ōla Nā Pua. This might explain why the episode had an underlying hint of PSA, although not off-puttingly so; anyway, on any view it’s a worthy cause, and anything which can be done to educate young people and their parents is worthwhile.

There’s also a B-plot in which two recovering addicts are found murdered in their sober living home, together with their counsellor. Chin and Lou are on this one, although it’s no more than filler. And there are one or two references to something which happened with “Jack”, which confused me at first, but I’d forgotten about the MacGyver/H50 crossover episode. I’m not watching MacGyver, but I don’t think the crossover has been shown in the UK yet, so I might keep an eye out for it.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 16

We start at a nightclub, where a thirtysomething dude’s appalling chat-up lines are getting much more attention than they deserve from a blonde babe in a revealing dress. They adjourn outside to make out, and next morning dude – Jeremy, a Palo Alto software developer – is found murdered, and the blonde is nowhere to be seen. Jeremy was on Oahu to attend a conference on The Method, a technique which is being pushed as a foolproof way of picking up women by its creepy originator Blake Stone.

The investigation is left to Kono, Chin, and Lou this week, because it’s Valentine’s Day and Steve has taken Lynn on a romantic break… to Hawaii. Yes, he’s gone a mile or so down the road and booked a suite at a well-known Honolulu resort hotel. And who should be in the next room? Danny, of course, with Melissa, so that the four of them can hang out. In fairness to the women, it’s courageous of them to attempt to compete with Steve and Danny’s true loves (each other); a task which becomes even more difficult when Danny becomes rather disturbingly fixated on a teenage boy at the resort, who might or might not have stolen his $20 sunglasses.

Meantime, in the Case of the Week, it turns out that Stone has been paying escorts to flirt with his students so that they will think his asinine methods are actually working, which means that the blonde in the revealing dress is now the main suspect in the murder of Jeremy. But is she the culprit? It’s about as traditional an episode of H50 as it’s possible to imagine, and it’s diverting, but no more than that.

This episode was brought to you by: well, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, of course, which gets more screen time than any of the characters.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 15

The body of a woman in her thirties, Leia Rosen, is found floating offshore, with a number tattooed on her arm, akin to those inflicted on Nazi concentration camp prisoners. This enables the Five-0 to identify her as Leia Rosen, the granddaughter of a recently deceased Holocaust survivor. Leia had been working as a volunteer in Kalaupapa, a peninsula on the island of Molokai, which hosted what used to be called a leper colony until the end of the 1960s. For the second week in a row, a quick check on Wikipedia revealed to me that this wasn’t an invention by the writers: although it is now a national park, there are still a few elderly survivors of Hansen’s disease, ill at ease with outside life, living in Kalaupapa as part of the community. And, once again, Hawaii Five-0 deserves considerable credit for illuminating a hidden corner of the history of the islands.

Anyway, Leia’s journey to Molokai turns out to have been linked to her grandfather’s past, and specifically to an elderly Nazi who escaped Germany after the war and set up home there. I thought it to be a little better plotted than last week’s equally-worthwhile episode – perhaps every other viewer worked out who the killer was, but I certainly didn’t – and, once again, an excellent example of H50 providing education and entertainment at the same time.

There’s some filler elsewhere: a B-plot in which a reviled hunter of exotic animals is found hanging upside down having apparently been eviscerated by a shark. There isn’t much to it, but it introduced me to the practice of “finning”, which sounds ruder than it is. And there’s a flimsy C-plot in which Kamekona tries to get the Five-0 to intervene when his employees go on strike. Putting that aside, a strong episode.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 14

A man is being chased through the jungle by the HPD, but just as they’re about to grab him he burrows under a wire mesh fence and into a compound. When the cops point guns at the people on the other side of the fence and demand that the suspect be handed over, guns are pointed back at them. The suspect is one Kanuha Noe (Kalani Queypo, a native Hawaiian) wanted for murder; and the compound is the property of – indeed, the territory of – the Nation of Hawai’i, which regards itself as a sovereign state, and entitled under international law to provide sanctuary to kanaka maoli.

Now, what I didn’t know – until I paused the episode at this point and did a bit of poking around the internet – is that the Nation of Hawai’i is a thing, and Bumpy Kanahele, the Nation’s spokesperson and negotiator, is a real life activist. And so, not for the first time by any means, H50 illuminates a corner of Hawaiian history and politics of which I was unaware, and does so – if I may say so – respectfully and sympathetically as well, with particular reference to the treatment of the indigenous population.

Bumpy has no particular problem with turning Noe over to the Five-0; provided, that is, that it can be proved he’s responsible for the murder they want to pin on him. Steve and Chin, in turn, are fine with that. However, the US Marshals – led by a narrow-eyed Lou Diamond Phillips – have other ideas: it’s a murder; he’s a fugitive; it’s a Federal matter; and the Five-0 has until sundown before they go in and take Noe by force. It’s not the best H50 ever, but it’s another one for the list of episodes in which the show, commendably, gives something back to the islands which host it, and teaches me something in the process.

This episode was brought to you by: Dillingham Blvd. Self Storage.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 8

Grace is at a school dance, chaperoned by Danny, which is of course just about the worst thing imaginable if you’re Grace. Particularly as Danny is convinced that she has a boyfriend, and is determined to find out who it is. Meantime, Grover’s son Will – who was interrogated by his father last week about the identity of Grace’s boyfriend – is at the same dance and, per Grover, suddenly taking an interest in his personal hygiene. Well, we can join these dots easily enough: yes, in much the same way as the grand royal families of Europe would broker suitable marriages between their children, the Houses of Grover and Williams are to be joined in adolescent love. (Or they could just feature in a spinoff, called Grace & Will or something.)

But while Danny is interrogating the hapless Will, something happens to take his mind off his daughter’s love life: some gunmen burst in and take everyone apart from the two of them hostage, leaving Danny and Will with a kind of Die Hard-esque mission: stop the gunmen, alert the outside world, try not to get killed. This will mean, in some way, getting word to Steve, Grover and Chin, who are at a poker night with the extended Five-0 family, including Kamekona, and Dog the Bounty Hunter. Although since, as I’m writing this, Dog is at CPAC trying to rally support for a possible Senate run in Wisconsin by Sheriff David Clarke, a Trump consigliere, Dog can eff off.

The terrorists are trying to abduct the son of a Filipino diplomat in the hope of trading him for their leader, imprisoned in the Phillipines and about to be executed. Slight problem: according to the diplomat, and unknown to the wider world, he has in fact been executed ahead of schedule. So when Steve rocks up at the school he’s out of options, and is going to have to go in hot, which is kind of how he likes it anyway. As an episode, it isn’t without a certain charm, even if we have to add this to the list of unimaginable traumas to have befallen Grace. If the poor girl isn’t in therapy, she should be.

The Return of Bromance Watch! “Pick a base.”

Hawaii Five-0 s6 ep 25

The last episode of the season, and there’s just enough time for one more in medias res opening. So: Steve and Danny, undercover, are piloting a plane carrying a third person and a whole lot of drugs. Then someone in a helicopter shoots at them, and Steve takes one to the stomach.

Rewind 36 hours and – skipping over a baffling little scene, in which Steve is taken to a CIA black site in Morocco and meets Daddy Fat – we are indeed revisiting, as I hypothesised last week, the bad crystal meth, now responsible for eleven deaths in two weeks. Well, Steve isn’t going to let that stand on his island. The Five-0 bang a few heads together and find the pilot who’s going to be flying the next meth shipment in. Steve ensures that he won’t be able to do any piloting, with a crisp snap of the arm, then gets himself introduced  to the drug dealers as a suitable replacement, with engineer Danny riding shotgun.

Which takes us back to the start of the episode, Steve getting shot, and an onboard crisis: Danny can’t fly. So he’s going to have to be talked down, in time-honoured film/TV style. There are, mind you, one or two problems. His cover has been blown, so there’s a gun pointing at him. The love of his life is bleeding out in the next seat. And the fuel tanks have been ruptured, so there’s no gas left. Not unreasonably, ATC wants him to ditch the plane in the water and hope for the best, but as that would mean Steve’s almost certain death, that’s a non-starter. No, says Danny; I’m gonna glide this sumbitch onto the beach, a manoeuvre which, in all the circumstances, would test the most accomplished of pilots, never mind a panicking rookie.

Danny manages it, of course, and Steve is rushed to hospital. Unfortunately Steve’s liver has been turned into pâté, and he needs an immediate transplant. With no time to source one, the only way of keeping Steve alive is if someone compatible donates half a liver to him, allowing each semi-liver to regenerate. And Danny, of course, knocks everyone else out of the way in his rush to offer. Now, I can’t believe that (a) this actually happens; (b) the writers aren’t aware of the metaphor; and (c) I’m actually writing about it. But here it is: the show reaches the point it’s been aiming towards since the very first episode, as Danny’s organ is inserted into Steve.

While that’s happening, what seems like the entire cast is waiting at the hospital to see if Steve and Danny will survive. There’s some memory-swapping – actually, I thought Chin’s was rather touching – and, of course, Steve lives, as does Danny. In a sense, there’s really nowhere for the show to go after that moment of consummation, and it doesn’t try to. Everyone’s pleased; Steve and Danny – sharing a room, obvs – bicker; credits.

It looks like a series, rather than a season, finale – with the possible exception of the whereabouts of Michelle Shioma, there aren’t too many loose threads – and it may be that the writers kept their options open in case that’s what it was. But H50 has been renewed yet again, this time for a seventh year. I wouldn’t have been devastated by cancellation, but I’m happy enough to keep going.

It’s worth saying, though, that Scott Caan’s absences are becoming more and more noticeable. As it happens, H50 has negotiated this situation reasonably well, by turning itself into more of an ensemble piece, with Chi McBride in particular stepping up, and Jorge Garcia getting more to do as well. I like what the show has become, if not quite as much as I liked the show that it used to be. Still, I’m looking forward to season 7, in which the shippers will get their wish granted, and Danny will be inside Steve every single week.